Can Snails Drink Tea?

Snails Drink Tea

Can Snails Drink Tea?

Endless are the lengths to which snail enthusiasts will go to understand the best ways to care for their pet snails. Therefore, some enthusiasts might consider offering different liquid substances to enhance their snails’ quality of life, much like a coffee date could brighten a person’s mood on a chilly evening. However, does this extend to snails? Can snails drink tea?

Snails cannot drink tea because tea contains caffeine, which is toxic for snails and slugs. Farmers have discovered how to utilize caffeine as a deterrent to keep snails and slugs away from their gardens. They use it as a method to eliminate these creatures without causing harm to their crops.

While it may seem charming to share a sip of your favorite beverage with your snail, it could sadly be their last. This article explains why it’s crucial to keep snails away from tea and why they cannot consume it safely.

Scientific Reasons Why Snails and Slugs Cannot Drink Tea

An insightful experiment conducted by a fourth-year student at the University of Southern California explored how copper and caffeine could serve as environmentally friendly options to deter snails and slugs.

The student discovered that liquid tea, particularly those with high concentrations of green or red tea, is lethal to most invertebrates, including snails and slugs. Upon concluding the experiment, it was determined that tea acts as a more effective repellent than copper or any other metaldehyde-based molluscicides.

The student’s encounter with copper and tea provided crucial insights that informed these conclusions. During the experiment, the snails exhibited hesitation upon contact with copper but did not perish.

In contrast, the snails and slugs traversed the delineated copper zone. They continued to consume targeted plants on the farm, unaffected by their encounter with copper.

A starkly different outcome emerged when the snails and slugs interacted with the tea. All snails and slugs that came into direct contact with the tea perished, underscoring the toxic nature of caffeine when it comes into contact with these creatures.

Those snails and slugs fortunate enough to evade the tea zone retreated, corroborating the efficacy of liquid tea as an environmentally friendly repellent.

Farmers can safely use it on their crops without causing damage. Interestingly, the same chemical that invigorates humans with a single cup proves fatal to slugs and snails!

These creatures cannot consume anything containing caffeine, which rules out tea. Caffeine in tea proves lethal to snails and slugs, even upon contact with their outer skin.

Some farmers have introduced caffeine directly to the soil. Snails and slugs that traversed this treated ground suffered intensely before succumbing.

A sufficient dosage of caffeine almost immediately triggers neurotoxicity in these members of the mollusk family, leading to their swift demise.

Also Read: Why Does Salt Kill Slugs and Snails?

The Accidental Discovery of Caffeine as a Snail Repellent and Neurotoxin

The identification of caffeine as a deterrent and environmentally friendly measure against snails and slugs came about purely by chance. The credit for this groundbreaking discovery goes to Earl Campbell, a scientist whose contribution has significantly simplified farming.

Campbell, an employee of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, was seeking a pesticide to eradicate frogs that were causing a noise disturbance in Hawaii. Despite having no native reptiles or amphibians, Hawaii and its surrounding islands are now home to over forty species of non-native amphibians, which have made the islands their permanent habitat.

Far from delighting the island residents, the frogs became a source of annoyance due to their incessant noise. Campbell resolved to use his scientific expertise to offer the Hawaiian residents some respite from the constant noise, particularly from the ceaseless, deafening mating calls of the tiny Caribbean frogs.

These calls can endure all night and reach an astounding 90 decibels, a volume comparable to that a vacuum cleaner produces. Campbell experimented with surfactants, soaps, and synthetic pesticides, yet none successfully silenced the disruptive frogs.

The scientists subsequently decided to assess the effect of a diluted caffeine solution, applying it to the soil in greenhouses frequented by many frogs. This experiment yielded unexpected results.

Campbell observed that snails and slugs in the greenhouse emerged from their hiding spots and promptly died. Motivated by these findings, the scientists decided to test different caffeine concentrations, consistently replicating their initial results.

The exposure of snails and slugs to caffeine solutions proved fatal, making this an incredibly useful discovery for farmers and gardeners.


Snails and slugs, belonging to the same family of animals, typically exhibit similar reactions to various substances. While most of these creatures are found in the wild, some people keep snails as pets due to their utility in aquariums and aesthetic appeal.

Ensuring the well-being of these pets necessitates caution, particularly in relation to their diet. This article highlights that providing snails with tea is exceedingly dangerous due to its caffeine content. Caffeine, at any concentration, can kill these creatures more swiftly than any predator.



  • Paul Odoteh

    Paul Odoteh is an established writer and editor with nearly 10 years of experience in writing and editing. He holds a bachelor's degree in IT and has written for numerous publications and individuals. Currently, Odoteh is dedicated to expanding his blog,, which was inspired by his passion for owning an aquarium.

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